Koi and Ai

I remember looking out of the train window near Uzumasa, out on to the grids of traffic lights and pachinko parlours, buildings wrapped around in neon. Everywhere it was all red. I wondered about her response, what it meant.

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The China Dream

An insecure official, seeking to lord what little power they had, would occasionally goose-step through the train car demanding to check full and proper documentation, including our passports. As we took the bus from Zhāngyē station to our hostel, a convoy of thirty army trucks rumbled by, soldiers slinging from the sides with rifles in hand.

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Seasons Feelings

Another week in April rolled by. Having caught the last gasp of them at Kiyomizu-dera, the sakura at Imadegawa campus had been stripped bare. With a gust of wind hailing in Spring proper, the final few pinkish petals blew off into the breeze when we came back on Monday morning. Winter’s chill breath was gone. The mid-term holidays were coming, and with them, heat.

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Nihon no Survival

“Play something. Make it Dolly Parton, just don’t tell me who it is,” Marcus said, “I need to come organically.” The three of us – Luke, Marcus, and I – were sitting in the latter’s room for about the fifteenth time over the past week since arriving at Maison Iwakuni. “Wait—no, that’s not what I meant,” Marcus objected. Luke and I paused, looking at each other, then broke out in laughter. It was a small life-raft in the sea of everything else since arriving.

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Leaving Las Wellington

I emerge bleary eyed from the plane and stumble onto the set of World War Z. All around are clinical white walls and officials wearing illness face masks beckoning the horde through. Japan takes my fingerprints – again since I’d already had that done in Okayama in 2009 – and I’m entered into the system as an alien. Ushered along, like the rest of them, in an endless line of sweaty travellers. An official-seeming blue-overall’d man asks for my visa. I mean, probably. He did grab my passport to look at my visa, but for all I knew through the fog of my half-comatose Japanese he had asked for my second born child in a sacrifice ritual. I obliged, signing the papers and/or the souls of my progeny away...

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